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Weekly Star Atlas Newsletter #86

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Welcome to our 86th newsletter on Star Atlas! This weekly newsletter is published by Aephia Industries and focuses entirely on Star Atlas. Here we try to aggregate all the newsworthy tidbits that were dropped by the team throughout the past week.


The last week was action-packed! Destination Starbase was kicked off, with the release of three new dedicated mining ships! The end of Escape Velocity was announced in conjunction with a crack-down on bots. The new Governance App page was almost released. On top of that, we received a new quarterly Economic Report and Atlas Star newsletter!

Let’s get to it!

Star Atlas - Armstrong IMP Tip - Cockpit (Concept Art)
Star Atlas – Armstrong IMP Tip – Cockpit (Concept Art)

Escape Velocity

In the middle of the week, the team kicked off Wednesday with a few Escape Velocity-related announcements. The big one: EV will be sunset on July 7th! The next few days will be the last to allow you the opportunity to help test the foundation for SAGE.

Now, not all loot has been found yet. However, Michael (CEO) did share that the Fimbul BYOS Tankship -the grand prize in EV- will migrate to the upcoming SAGE: Resource Extraction & Crafting (REC) release. As to the other ships and prizes, the team is still discussing that.

If you have not finished your Escape Velocity-related Never Alone quests, then you better make haste!

Bots

A second announcement, made in tandem with the above, is that the team has identified a number of accounts that use automation aids (“bots”) to partake in Escape Velocity. The team, retroactively introduced a ceiling, based on analysis of player participants in EV, on the amount of loot botting addresses are eligible to receive.

The ceiling was set based on an analysis of player participants in EV, and does not exceed the amount that a genuine human player could have obtained. Botting addresses will not receive any discovered higher-tier rewards (Gold, Platinum, or Diamond) and will receive a capped amount of lower-tier loot (i.e., R4).

Official announcement

Because the team had delayed the distribution of rewards for some time, they were able to enforce this rule retroactively, limiting the loot gathered by bots during the two-week period before the announcement. Loot was distributed on Saturday, July 1st.

On top of that, the team decided not to simply withhold the lower-tier loot that exceeded the ceiling, but instead distribute this over the human EV participants, at a rate proportional to their own discovery of loot (from June 15 onward).

Destination Starbase - Armstrong IMP Ships
Destination Starbase – Armstrong IMP Ships Banner

Destination Starbase

On Thursday, the team kicked off Destination Starbase, with the launch of the three announced Armstrong Industries IMP ships. Beforehand they published a brochure where they listed the specs of the ships and some visuals.

Direct links to the Galactic Marketplace (including the gallery pictures):

Daily ATLAS Rewards in Faction Fleet

  • IMP Tip (small): 36 ATLAS
  • IMP Tap (medium): 104 ATLAS
  • IMP (capital): 1108 ATLAS

Daily R4 Rewards in Faction Claims

  • IMP Tip (small): Fuel: 22,299 | Food: 22,713 | Toolkits: 20,547 | Ammo: 23,539
  • IMP Tap (medium): Fuel: 62,985 | Food: 64,155 | Toolkits: 58,038 | Ammo: 66,489
  • IMP (capital): Fuel: 712,900 | Food: 726,143 | Toolkits: 656,913 | Ammo: 752,558

To put the R4 in perspective, here is a chart of these ships vs the Claim Stake production:

Aephia - Faction Claim - ROI per asset (using real-time prices)
Aephia – Faction Claim – ROI per asset (using avg daily prices)

From this chart, it can be seen that the Tier 1 Claim Stake is (at the moment) the asset that yields the biggest return on investment (ROI) in the Faction Claims program. However, the new IMP ships (the IMP Tip is hidden beneath the IMP Tap) are next in line, outperforming the Tier 2+ Claim Stakes currently available on the Galactic Marketplace (at the prices for which these are currently being sold).

Discounts

As part of the Destination Starbase campaign, which is the successor of the Start Sequence campaign (as mentioned in our previous issue), 30% of the initial supply of these ships will be sold at a 50% discount. This discount does not have an end date and will continue until all discounted ships have sold out. The team divided the non-discounted batch into two tranches, which will go live when the discounted ships run out, or when SAGE:REC is released, whichever occurs first.

The second tranche will see the team selling another 30% of the supply at 100% of the origination price. Finally, the third tranche will encompass the remaining 40%, being sold at 110% of the origination price. Below we’ll list the prices and supplies of each of these three tranches, for each of the mining ships. Note that, though we list the USDC prices, every tranch is sold 50/50 in USDC and ATLAS.

Tranche Prices (50% / 100% / 110%) in USDC

  • IMP Tip: 430 / 860 / 946
  • IMP Tap: 1,215 / 2,430 / 2,673
  • IMP: 13,750 / 27,500 / 30,250

Tranche Supply (30% / 30% / 40%)

  • IMP Tip: 3,060 / 3,060 / 4,080
  • IMP Tap:  1,235 / 1,235 / 1,645
  • IMP: 111 / 111 / 148
Star Atlas - Armstrong IMP Tip [Concept Art]
Star Atlas – Armstrong IMP Tip [Concept Art]
Star Atlas - Armstrong IMP Tap [Concept Art]
Star Atlas – Armstrong IMP Tap [Concept Art]
Star Atlas - Armstrong IMP [Concept Art]
Star Atlas – Armstrong IMP [Concept Art]
Star Atlas - Armstrong IMP [Concept Art]
Star Atlas – Armstrong IMP [Concept Art]

Ship Config V2

On Thursday, as the new Armstrong Industries IMP ships came online, the team also released an update to the ship configurations. A lot of ships were updated, and not everyone was happy with these, as many predicted. Chip (Lead Game Designer) spent a good few hours responding to people’s questions and remarks, after which most people seemed to have gotten a better understanding.

You can find the new configurations in the individual ship descriptions, accessible through the Galactic Marketplace. However, the recently launched Lore Wiki has been updated with a new section that lists all the various elements that go into a ship, and the differences (and some of the reasoning) between certain manufacturers and ship specs.

So, what changed? Well, a lot! There has been a big slot shakeup, going from 2 slot types to 4 types of slots. But there have also been elements added to the mix that previously were non-existent. One of the stand-outs is the Heat Sink component, which will greatly influence the stealth capabilities of ships. But there are many more, like the many new crew stations.

Slot Shakeup

So, what changed?

On a high level, the components and modules of every ship were thrown together, and from the mix, four new categories were defined. Here is a list of them, including their official description:

  • ComponentComponents are broken up into three subtypes: Core, Combat, and Utility. Core components are essential to every ship. Combat components cover all offensive and defensive weapon systems. Utility components are those that perform various support functions, such as mining and refueling. Core and Combat components are swappable and upgradable. Utility rigs are not swappable.
  • ModuleModules are optional, swappable, and customizable elements on ships. A ship with a module slot can support any module type as long as it’s the correct class.
  • InteriorInterior elements largely define the entire interior layout of the ship. Interiors elements can be a room or a detail. A room is a physically enclosed space, whereas a detail is added to an existing room.
  • Crew StationCrew stations are where the different crew members will perform their various functions. Some stations provide access to multiple functions, such as the operator station. Crew members are sometimes assigned to a specific location or roam multiple locations instead of a physical station.

It’s important to know that both the interior and crew station slots have not yet been set in stone for most ships. These will slowly come online over time, as the team actually finishes work on the individual ships. Meanwhile, the team did already convert a whole bunch of (old) components and modules into interior elements, resulting in many ships that appear to be missing key elements that (used to) define them. These are not gone, but simply momentarily missing from the loadout description.

For example, there is no brig listed with the Pearce X6 anymore, but it is still there. It moved to the interior slots and will be made visible once the ships progress further through the pipeline. In fact, Chip shared that most Pearce ships will be outfitted with brigs (including the Pearce F4) because that is one of the defining characteristics of Pearce ships, which are used by the CoP to police their territory.

Swapping

Interior elements are fixed. They can not be swapped. The team is planning for some cosmetic customization options further down the line, however.

Components can be swapped, but only with same-type components of similar size. In other words, you can upgrade your fixed hardpoints, but you can’t replace one with a missile bay

Modules you can swap for any other module of the same size. For example, you can replace your Ammo module with a Cargo one.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into modules:

Modules

A good many of the elements that were previously designated as modules have now become components or part of the interior. With that, the pool of modules has been narrowed down to these four options:

  • Cargo
  • Fuel
  • Ammo
  • Passenger

These modules are fully interchangeable with one another. In other words, you can swap out any one of them, and replace it with another one, as long as the size of both modules is the same.

The team decided for some ships to change the default modules present, to better stick to the core competency of the ship in question. However, you will be able to craft, buy, and trade any other module of your choosing instead.

For example, the Pearce F4 used to have a cargo module, but now it ended up with an Ammo module, as that better fits its fighter-spec. However, you are able to remove the ammo module and insert a cargo module instead, if you so desire.

Class 8

With the updated ship configurations, a new (size) class of ships has been introduced, mysteriously labeled “Class 8”. This class sits in between the commander and titan class, and no further information has been provided. The Lore Wiki does not even share the dimension range for this class, instead showing “Redacted” (in what could be a nod to Star Citizen, or pure coincidence).

When asked about this class, Chip only responded with the term Redacted as well.

It could very well be that Class 8 is nothing more than a virtual class (as in: there won’t be any actual ships of that size class) to increase the gap between the Titan and Commander ships. This would allow for oversized components to be placed on Commander ships, without having to resort to Titan-size components. Put simply: This puts the Titans in a higher league and means only Titan ships will have Titan-class slots.

Spec & Make Modifiers

To determine the actual effectiveness of the various components on a ship, the presence and class are very important. However, do not rule out the spec, and make modifiers that are applied to these.

On Aephia’s website, we updated our Firepower calculations to give you an idea of the relative damage-dealing capabilities of the various ships, taking all the latest configurations and modifiers into account.

DAO – PIP1

Due to some technical difficulties, the team has not managed to release their new Governance application, which includes the first, foundational Polis Improvement Proposal: PIP1.

Originally meant to go live this past Wednesday, the team encountered some technical issues that they wanted to resolve first. In particular, there seems to be an issue involving hardware wallets that kept them from launching the app. As a significant portion of POLIS Locker users relies on hardware wallets, it’s understandable that the team made the decision to postpone the release.

No doubt, more on this next week!

Star Atlas - Economic Report Q2 2023
Star Atlas – Economic Report Q2 2023

Economic Report

The team released its latest quarterly Economic Report, focusing primarily on the big R4 economic change that was implemented by the team on June 7th. Here is a small, but interesting snippet from the Executive Summary regarding this change:

From June 8th through June 27th, claim stakes produced 13.24 million ATLAS in R4, and EV production totaled another 4.34 million for a total production of 17.58 million ATLAS worth. Resource consumption amounted to 25.04 million. The deficit of 7.47 million ATLAS resulted in a drawdown in player inventories and a rise in prices. As of June 27th, the ATLAS price of toolkits increased by 104%, fuel by 40%, food by 177%, and ammunition by 68% on the secondary market.

Econ Report Q2 2023 – Executive Summary

The report also notes that the SCORE players who did not own Claim Stakes saw ship employment rate decline by 9.6%. Or in other words: a lot of ships have been removed from Faction Fleet by those without the means to generate their own R4.

Star Atlas Econ Report Q2 2023 - Net Ship Deposits
Star Atlas Econ Report Q2 2023 – Net Ship Deposits

Other key highlights noted in the report:

  • Ecosystem engagement increased by approximately 200%
  • Peer-to-peer trade in resources totaled 19.87 million ATLAS from June 8th through June 27th
  • Claim stakes deposited in Faction Claims totaled 2.57 million USD in VWAP
  • EV participants earned an average wage of 147 ATLAS per hour of gameplay
  • The size of the ship labor force contracted by 4.2%
  • Employed residents and citizens claimed 427.57 million ATLAS

If the above interests you, definitely download and read through the Economic Report. Additionally, if you like to stay up to date with the economic R4 developments, we have a lot of (related) daily charts available for you!

Roadmap

Last Friday, the team published the 19th issue of their Atlas Star newsletter. This edition came with an intro into the governance platform (release is imminent) and provided some in-lore context for the major change made to the R4-economy recently.

As always, it also came with updates on the work done by the various teams in ATMTA.

This time around, there were not many new and interesting details being shared. Basically, the Showroom team has been spending a lot of time fixing a number of R2.1 bugs. Just last week, the R2.1.2 patch was released as a testament to that.

SAGE: REC

Of more interest were the SAGE updates, as many are hoping to glean when REC is released. At the moment, the Blockchain team finished work on the Mining program, so that is good news. However, they have since been busy updating the Ship & Fleet Stats program to bring them in line with the latest Game Design changes. Under upcoming activities, they list that they will go on to finalize all change requests.

This does not bode well for those believing the REC release is imminent. Blockchain programs need to be audited as well before being deployed on mainnet, and they need to be tested.

However, the Web-team reported they finished the first version of the Mining UI. They have since started work on the Inventory UI and Hangar Module. Upcoming activities include connecting Starcomm to the (Playcanvas) front end and finalizing the UI layer.

Here too, it does not sound like this will be ready in the next 1-2 weeks.

The UI/UX specialists have been busy finalizing the inventory UI/UX, and they have since continued their work on the Hangar UI/UX. They are currently working towards finalizing the latter.

And finally, the Econ team has been running SAGE REC Mega Fleet Simulations. They are on standby to help the SAGE team where necessary.

REC Release

All in all, all signs would point to an August release at best. However, on June 14th, a little over two weeks ago, Michael shared the following tidbit:

EV is being extended to account for the econ change recently implemented (and it’s also been quite successful for user acquisition and engagement), and will run up to or until we are close to rolling out resource extraction and crafting. We haven’t determined specifically the deprecation date, but it could be anywhere from 1-3 weeks in advance of REC.

Michael (Foundation Room)

With Escape Velocity winding down on July 7th, three more weeks would place the REC launch (at the latest) on the 28th of July. Perhaps the Roadmap update contains slightly out-of-date information, and/or the changes required by Game Design are very small and easy to implement. Or perhaps someone on the team had an epiphany, which would allow for more time between EV closure and the REC launch?

We don’t know, but it will be very interesting to see where this goes! No doubt, some new details will emerge over the next two weeks!

Star Atlas - Armstrong IMP (Concept Art)
Star Atlas – Armstrong IMP (Concept Art)

Tidbits

To wrap up the issue, let’s go over some of the smaller (but often most interesting) tidbits of news we gathered during the last week!

Mobile Companion App

The team will officially announce their Mobile Companion app during the PlayGG-event on July 18th & 19th. So far, we know it’s focused on crew & racing, but soon we’ll know a lot more! It seems the presentation won’t be live-streamed, but hopefully, this information will find its way to those not present soon after.

Don’t expect the release of the Mobile app soon after, by the way. Michael stated they are unsure if they will announce a date during the event. They will be presenting the concept, not a fully working app.

Outpost 39 – Flower Hunt

The Flower Hunt game mode in Outpost 39 has been fixed with patch R2.1.1, and thanks to Danny (CPO), we now know a little bit more about how it works.
It will trigger when 4 people get into a session together [in Outpost 39]. The flower will spawn somewhere on the map but will be extremely hard to find.

The Flower Hunt was created in an effort to build a simple proof-of-concept game mode around earning something in Unreal and receiving an on-chain reward. However, in the final hour, the team wasn’t able to test if retrieving the flower actually worked in a live build, because nobody could find it 😆. Additionally, all the components to close the mechanic off weren’t ready for full launch, so the team decided to release it as part of the experimental mode instead.

Showroom R3

The last big Pre-season release (R3) of the Showroom was originally meant to introduce the giant Warp-gate that the community has to build together. This would then allow players to (roughly a year later) depart the MUD CSS and explore other parts of the Galia Expanse.

However, when asked about it, Danny shared that the team has shifted priorities from cooperative gameplay to competitive gameplay, or, in other words, from PvE to PvP. He expects that some of the core mechanics that lead toward gate building will still end up in Experimental Mode this year. In that case, it may be released as R3.1 somewhere in 2024.

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